Never forget this:
If you hadn’t noticed the next election is already in full swing. As usual the lockstep Republican candidates are all singing from the same hymnal. That hymnal has various versions of the ever popular song among Republicans “Socialism is Bad, Bad, Bad.” Candidates from one end of America to another are already joining the chorus trying to scare the average Joe to vote for them.
Like many popular songs, those singing it may not understand what the subject of the song is or what their words mean. Here in Iowa we have Congress members Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Ashley Hinson and Chuck Grassley are already singing it as loud as they can. They have it in press releases, all their interviews and of course any mail or email that goes to a constituent and especially in fund raising letters.
One thing that every Republican steers clear of is defining just what “socialism” is or what programs exactly what programs they would go right after. The plan is to create a visual of system that links socialism to very old Russian or Chinese Communism under Stalin or Mao where everyone is poor and no goods are being produced. The objective is to scare the crap out of as many ill-informed voters as is possible.
The truth is that there is no relationship between Russian or Chinese dictatorial Communism and Socialism. They are about as closely related as Catholicism and Islam. But Iowa’s Republican congress critters spread disinformation in an effort to scare up votes for themselves and other republicans who play really loose with reality.
I would love to hear any of them define socialism. I would bet neither could come close. My understanding is that socialism is people getting together to provide a good or service to all that would be prohibitively expensive or difficult to obtain individually. In these cases people often come together through their government. Since the government is supposedly representative, all sides can have input.
We see smaller versions of this set up on smaller governmental units such as counties and cities who may form together to provide police, fire and ambulance service to an area. We may also have non-governmental units such as homeowners associations or volunteer groups which may form around a specific issue. In my town we have groups that raise scholarship money for those less well off so they can continue their education.
For the most part when we talk socialism we are talking within governmental units. Perhaps the biggest single socialistic group in the world is the US military which is set up to defend the country. I doubt our chortling congress critters want to end the military to stop socialism. As they paint their picture of the darkest sides of dictatorial communism and try to make you believe that is socialism, they leave a lot out.
The very first socialistic type program that most people cite is Social Security. SS is very popular and has been from the day FDR signed it into law – 86 years ago today. What Iowa’s congress critters won’t tell you – unless they think they are behind closed doors with only. Republicans – is that Social Security is at the very top of their chopping block.
Joni Ernst let us know that as her tongue wagged a little loose behind closed doors a couple of years ago.
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said at a recent town hall meeting in Emmet County that politicians should “sit down behind closed doors” as a way to avoid public scrutiny when discussing was to fix Social Security policy.
A video clip of Ernst this past Saturday at a school in Estherville shows the Republican senator responding to a question from the audience.
“How do we sustain Social Security for some of our younger workers?” asked Ernst. “We know that there is a point in time when we as Congress will have to address the situation, and I think it’s better done sooner rather than later, to make sure that we shored up that system.
When Republicans talk about “reforming” Social Security it is only a prelude to totally cutting the program. Of course Social Security is not the only program that Republicans would love to cut. In their top tier of “social safety net” programs to cut are Medicaid, Medicare, whatever food stamps are called today (SNAP?), unemployment insurance and so on. Any program that keeps people from starving to death in the cold. For a country that claims to be Christian, those programs should be right in line with Christian values.
So if you believe the Republican scare tactics on socialism, you need to understand that with their old bait and switch tactics, Iowa’s congress critters are telling you that socialism is evil, but when they fix it you, your parents, your children and aunts, uncles and cousins will lose those social safety net programs that they depend on to stay alive.
Guess what else is socialism? Those nice fat congressional paychecks Old Chuck Grassely has been getting as a senator:
Here’s a new and weird mental image to add to the health care debate. On C-SPAN Tuesday morning, in a discussion over whether the Senate health care reform bill amounted to socialism, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) acknowledged that he “lived off the public tit” as a congressman.
After Grassley said he didn’t think the bill was tantamount to socialism, a viewer called into the program and argued that as a public official Grassley himself was, in some ways, living off the government. Grassley admitted that he was.
GRASSLEY: For the first 16 years I made $3,000 every other year as a state legislator. Now do you expect me to live on $3,000 every other year? No I was a factory worker for 10 years and I was a farmer for that period of time and I farm with my son now. So if you’re trying to make a case that I’ve lived off the public tit all these years, I think you’re saying correctly in the years I’ve been in the Congress but not the years before I came to Congress.
Also don’t expect those farm payments to be considered socialism. Or the highways that are put in specifically for the new Walmart or other big box store. Governmental units underwrite public projects from highways to water to sewage to electric and now internet. Don’t expect Republicans to link those programs to their dystopian version of socialism.
And by the way, the most habitable countries in the world are democratic socialist countries which include the likes of Sweden and Norway and Canada.
And one more thing – if we went to national health care like the above mentioned countries we could cover everybody for about half of what we pay now to cover 80% and do so poorly.